The Pateley Bridge and Brimham Rocks walk in Nidderdale

East from Pateley Bridge, via the Nidderdale Way, past Blazefield and almost to Cliff Top. South past Kiln House and along the minor road to Smelthouses, then through woodland north and east to Brimham Rocks. South by way of tracks and minor roads to Summerbridge, then north-west, following the River Nidd, back to the starting point. An 11-mile walk in Nidderdale.


The best map to use on this walk is the Ordnance Survey map of Nidderdale, reference OS Explorer 298, scale 1:25,000. It clearly displays footpaths, rights of way, open access land and vegetation on the ground, making it ideal for walking, running and hiking. The map can be purchased from Amazon in either a standard, paper version or a weatherproof, laminated version, as shown below.

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Pateley Bridge town centre.


A misty morning in Nidderdale.


Nidderdale Llamas, Kiln Farm, Wilsill, Pateley Bridge. Visit https://www.nidderdalellamas.org for more information.


Fell Beck in Smelthouses.


House and gardens by the side of Fell Beck in Smelthouses.


Fell Beck flowing through woodland north of Smelthouses.

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Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks are balancing rock formations on Brimham Moor in North Yorkshire. The rocks stand at a height of nearly 30 feet in an area owned by the National Trust which is part of the Nidderdale Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There are many variations of rock formations, caused by Millstone Grit being eroded by water, glaciation and wind, some of which have formed amazing shapes. Many formations have been named, though imagination is required and the correct viewing angle is helpful. Examples include the Sphinx, the Watchdog, the Camel, the Turtle and the Dancing Bear.

The children’s television programme Roger and the Rottentrolls was filmed at Brimham Rocks and the site also features in the Bee Gees’ video ‘You Win Again’. A scene of series six of Knightmare, another children’s programme and adventure game show, saw Brimham Rocks used as a location although only used once. Visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brimham_Rocks for more information.


Lake by the side of the River Nidd at Glasshouses.


Lake by the side of the River Nidd at Glasshouses. The path is the Six Dales Trail.


The River Nidd.

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Gated bridge over the River Nidd.


Pillars Past

The sculpture ‘Pillars Past’, commissioned by Sustrans, forms part of the public art trail ‘Passing Places’ which mirrors the long distance Way Of The Roses Cycle Route. This coast-to-coast route between Morecambe and Bridlington passes through some of the most beautiful landscape in the north of England, and ‘Passing Places’ was developed as a public art project with the aim of adding a cultural and historic experience to enrich the travellers’ journey. Pateley Bridge, sited half way along the route, was selected as the location for one of the pieces of public art.

Created by Joseph Hayton, the sculpture ‘Pillars Past’ comprises three figures, in a circular formation, representing the lead mining, agricultural and monastic past that has shaped the landscape in and around Pateley Bridge. Emerging from the monumental blocks of Yorkshire sandstone, the figures engage with both the present, and the viewer who stands in the centre of the circle.

Lead mining dates to Roman times in the dale and had a major impact on the local economy until around the 1890s when lead extraction ceased due to cheap imports. The figure of the lead miner was based on Paul Reinsch who has been helping to restore local mines in Greenhow.

Fountains Abbey and Bylands Abbey shaped Nidderdale, having major land holdings from 1200 until the dissolution of the monasteries. The Archbishop of York once owned the township of Pateley Bridge. The figure of the monk was based on John Hayton, Joseph’s father.

Sheep farming has been crucial to the economy of Nidderdale from medieval times when Fountains Abbey and Bylands Abbey had substantial granges where sheep farming was predominant. Sheep farming still dominates the land today and the shepherd was based on John Rayner, a sheep farmer, whose farm at Gouthwaite was established in the 1200s and is on record for supplying produce to Fountains Abbey.


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